Christian Aid partners are providing emergency support to some 50,000 people who have fled a conflict in the north central state of Benue in Nigeria. The violence is the latest outbreak of a long-running land dispute between local farmers and groups of nomadic Fulani cattle herders.
Clashes between Fulani and Jukun communities in neighbouring Taraba state have added to the number of displaced people (IDPs).
Neither the state government, nor the federal agency directly responsible for emergency management in the state, have established a camp for the IDPs.
As a result, the displaced are taking refuge wherever they can, with some moving into schools that are empty because of an on-going teachers’ strike.
Christian Aid partners, Jireh Doo Foundation (JDF) and Anglican Diocesan Development Services (ADDS) Makurdi are distributing food and non-food items such as water containers and purifiers, mosquito nets, sanitary towels and cooking utensils.
In addition, psychosocial counselling is being provided, and general health education on water and sanitation hygiene to help prevent the spread of disease.
JDF and ADDS Makurdi are working with other civil society organisations and media to put pressure on the government to respond adequately to the crisis.
Charles Usie, country manager for Christian Aid Nigeria said: “Farming is the primary occupation in Benue state and the main source of income for most households.
“As well as people losing their lives, violent attacks during this conflict have destroyed farmlands leaving people homeless and jobless. This is another example of the growing insecurity in the country but we must put pressure on the authorities - they cannot ignore the crisis in Benue”.